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Indigenous@ Community: Seth Friedman

Introduce yourself. How long have you been working at Cash App? What team are you currently part of?

I’m Seth Friedman, and I joined Cash App about two years ago as a software engineer on the Growth team. I work mostly on the iOS app, but I also do some backend work.

The Growth team works to expand Cash App’s customer base, and engage the customers we already have. We work collaboratively with many different teams and on many different product features.

You’re one of the global chairs for the Indigenous@ community. Tell us about that community’s origin and its mission.

In October 2020, on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I saw a lot of discussions about Native American issues happening nationwide. It made me realize that while we have a lot of great employee resource groups - or communities - at Cash App, we didn’t yet have one for Indigenous people. So I decided to kick one off!

There are many different tribes, but there are some systemic issues that affect many Indigenous communities in the US. One in three Indigenous people live in poverty, sexual assault and violence against Indigenous women are endemic, as are alcoholism and drug abuse.

What we aim to do with the Indigenous@ community at Cash App is draw attention to these issues, consider ways in which we can help, and also increase the representation of Indigenous people at Cash App through recruiting.

What role do these community groups play in the lives of people who work at Cash App?

The Indigenous@ community creates a space for Indigenous employees to talk about their experiences, learn from each other, and reconnect to our heritage. I’m part of the Poarch Creek tribe in Poarch, Alabama—a relatively small tribe—and I didn’t grow up on the reservation, so I didn’t have many opportunities to experience my tribe’s culture. This experience is unfortunately pretty common because of federal government policies that forced Indigenous children away from their families and into white boarding schools, in many cases successfully removing them from their culture for generations. One of my biggest goals for Indigenous@ is to help people figure out how to take that first step toward reconnection.

How does your identity inform what you do here at Cash App?

I grew up in a low income family that was constantly struggling to make ends meet, and I think that gives me a unique perspective among my peers in the financial and tech industries.

What we do at Cash App is consider how we can improve people’s lives, how we can teach people about the economy and financial systems, and how we can give them access to knowledge that they might never have had the opportunity to receive. My upbringing really informs how strongly I believe in those goals.

Do you believe that the culture at Cash App supports your efforts to bring your identity and perspective to your work?

I do. Cash App really rewards people for bringing their authentic selves to the work that they do.

I’m also really delighted to see, as we build up the Indigenous community, how supportive the company and the I&D team are. We have an annual community summit, training, executive sponsorship—so much support to help us make our communities successful.